Six Global Powers Propose New Iran Sanctions

Six global powers proposed new sanctions against Iran including bans on travel and the sale of equipment that could be used in its nuclear industry, and urged stepped up monitoring of its financial institutions, according to elements for a new U.N. resolution obtained Friday by The Associated Press.

The six countries offered Iran a package of economic incentives and political rewards in June 2006 if it agreed to freeze uranium enrichment before talks on its nuclear program. But Iran has refused and defied two Security Council resolutions demanding suspension.

The new proposal would freeze the assets of additional individuals and entities involved in Iran's nuclear activities. They were not identified in those parts seen by The AP.

The proposal calls on all countries "to exercise vigilance" in entering into new financial commitments with Iran, including the granting of export credits, guarantees or insurance. It also calls for "vigilance" over financial dealings with Iranian-based banks, "in particular with Bank Melli and Bank Saderat, and their branches and subsidiaries abroad."

The new resolution would also call on all countries to inspect cargo heading to or from Iran "provided there are reasonable grounds to believe" that prohibited goods are being transported.

The U.N. Security Council has been trying to pressure Iran to suspend uranium enrichment — but Iran has repeatedly refused, and officials from the International Atomic Energy Agency have privately said Tehran is expanding the program.

Iran insists its enrichment activities are intended only to produce fuel for nuclear reactors that would generate electricity, but the U.S., the European Union and others suspect Tehran's real aim is to produce nuclear bombs.

Diplomats from the five Security Council nations with veto power — the U.S., Russia, China, Britain and France — and Germany, which has been a key player in negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program, agreed on the elements that would form the basis for a third round of U.N. sanctions against Tehran.

The U.S., Britain and France, have been pressing for a new sanctions resolution to further pressure a defiant Iran, but veto-wielding China and Russia have been reluctant to impose tough new measures. The general terms for the new resolution were worked out in Berlin earlier this week, chiefly through negotiations between U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

The last sanctions resolution, adopted in March 2007, called on all states to exercise "vigilance and restraint" in allowing Iranians "associated with providing support for Iran's proliferation-sensitive nuclear activities or development of nuclear weapon delivery systems" to transit or enter their countries.

The new proposal would require all countries to ban the entry or transit of individuals involved in Iran's nuclear program, including procurement activities.

For the first time, it would also target equipment and technology that can be used in both civilian and nuclear programs, except under IAEA auspices and "for exclusive use in light water reactors" provided advance notice is given to the U.N. committee monitoring sanctions.

The draft elements stress that the six countries "are willing to take further concrete measures on exploring an overall strategy of resolving the Iranian nuclear issue through negotiation on the basis of their June 2006 proposals."

It encourages EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana "to continue communication with Iran ... with a view to create necessary conditions for resuming talks."

The draft welcomes the agreement between Iran and the IAEA to resolve all outstanding issues concerning its nuclear program "and progress made in this regard." It encourages the IAEA to clarify all outstanding issues, "and stresses that this would help to re-establish international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program."

It calls for a report from IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei in 90 days on Iran's compliance with the council demand to suspend enrichment and says the council will consider "further appropriate measures" if Tehran fails to comply.